Great music rarely just appears…it comes from somewhere, and usually the route to it takes some time. Back in late 2011 and 2012, an Osaka artist named OMEGABOY started sharing his wonky, squeaky electronic music online. He played synths in a band called Talking City 1994, an outfit that would go on to release some good EPs, but his most off-the-wall ideas came out in his OMEGABOY persona. Very little of what he created exists online anymore…here is one…and dude was known for some really strange twists (the one that sticks with me was when he looped this John Cena rap battle over a beat, it was magic).
Eventually, he changed his project title to Soleil Soleil, and over the time the fuzzy weirdness grew into a shinier take on house music. The crackle still came through on last year’s fantastic Sense compilation, but heading into 2015 he’s shined his approach up and the end result, the If I Could EP, stands as his best release under any moniker to date.
Soleil Soleil’s evolution has primarily been one from intentional weirdness (or accidental strangeness via limited resources) to dance floor populism, the WWE Superstar samples swapped out in favor of Top 40 transmogrification. The very first song on If I Could pitches down Zedd’s “Stay The Night,” and loops the titular phrase over and over again, turning the drink-fueled excitement of the original into something more intimate, like whispers in the corner rather than shouts in the floor. The very next song finds Soleil morphing an Akon cut into a jittery burner. This sample-focused formula makes up the backbone of the EP, highlighted later on by the tropical drip-drop of “I’ll Give You Anything” and the locked-in “Teach Me,” but the beating heart here is the title track. I’ve already written a little about it, but didn’t really dwell much on how good it is, the whole thing being the most emotionally twisty song Soleil Soleilhas produced, aided by Bob Wiley’s vocal turn (which gets warped all over the place, making the whole thing feel even more uneasy). It’s the crown jewel of the first really exciting Japanese album of the year. Listen above.